Remember Natasha from Lugansk, for whom we collected money two years ago to buy a hearing aid?
She’s in difficult situation. Can’t find work, and has to take care of two kids. Her hearing got worse after she found herself under shellfire in ’14, so much so she can’t hear at all. The aid helped, but she still asks to repeat almost every phrase.
They live off child benefits and occasional piecework. But she hasn’t found a permanent job. LPR has big problems with work. Many factories, mines are closed for obvious reasons.
That’s where things stand.
In September, Natasha climbed a tree to pick some nuts and fell. Broke a leg and is now hopping on crutches.
Just to top things off, her electricity was cut off for nonpayment.
It’s been almost four years since Donbass started living in a new reality. At first, this reality was a horror that nobody could accept. Many locals couldn’t believe their fellow citizens were shooting at them. They couldn’t believe something like that was possible. Many left and reordered their lives.
Many since returned. And many others never left. Didn’t manage in time, weren’t able, had no place to go. It’s been four years, and life there goes on. It probably did not cease being a horror. At least to us, who don’t live there. But for those who DO, this horror is simply a given, it’s taken for granted. Life there is different but it does go on. With its own powerful rhythm. Lugansk has restaurants, supermarkets. In the evenings, people come out for strolls and the youth is populating boulevards, like everywhere else in the world. One can sometimes hear volleys and explosions from the outskirts. This is now background noise to which nobody pays attention. There are nightly battles along the separation line. But life goes on in the most direct sense of the word. Maternity wards are full.
We receive the most amazing variety of items intended for the Donbass. Since our volume-handling ability is limited, we try to focus on what the kids need. We sometimes get books. For example, I have a friend named Seryozha with whom I got acquainted through the aid effort. He’s helped us many times with buying and sending medications, wheelchairs, and much else. So, he’s been giving us at least a pair of books for kids before every one of our trips. During our most recent visit we brought books from various people. Zhenya recently donated them to the Lugansk children’s rehab center. I wrote many times about it–we bought wallpapers, paints, sometimes bring food and clothing.
Right now it has 34 kids. This center, where the kids may spend up to 9 months, then they are returned to their families or sent to orphanages. It’s a “buffer” for kids from vulnerable families. It has a large staff of psychologists and social workers.
A few days prior to September 1 were got thinking many people on the Donbass can’t afford to buy their kids anything for school. They simply have no money. Then I wrote a post and you know what? You and I turned out to be quite awesome.
We got in touch with the Lugansk Aid Center and coordinated the list of necessities. Thanks to the money you sent, we managed to prepare 22 kids for school. It’s not just pens, pencils, supplies, but even pen holders and backpacks.
Zhenya described the distribution thusly: “To be perfectly serious, several moms were crying since they had no idea how to buy these things, and the kids must go to school…”
I’ve been writing far less frequently about the people we care for on the Donbass. It’s not so much due to it being hard for me, but rather because everyone is tired and is not opening these posts. But it’s a fact: we’re helping as much as before. Or perhaps even more.
These post contains accounts of aid to 8 families.
Zhenya and I constantly get asked: “How can you bear it?”
I think the answer would run something like this: “It’s far worse to know about it and not be able to do anything.”
I’m simply grateful you are giving us the ability to do something. I think I wrote about this? But so be it, let me say it one more time. I will probably repeat this constantly from now on. I’m glad to say thanks to you for the aid.
I don’t know to what extent we are doing the right thing.
There are cases in which we help those who perhaps don’t need it. There are cases where people lie, though we always try to check. But I know one thing for sure–I don’t sense emptiness.
There are many various feelings. Exhaustion, bitterness, unfairness, tears. Sometimes I want to give up, we have so many people under our care who have cancer and who are simply doomed. Many of them already died. Many cases are hopeless. It seems Zhenya and Lena are hit harder by these cases. They are on the spot, after all. But I return. Return to normal life. Without war.
Therefore I want to thank them once again. The very close Zhenya and Lena, whom I want to tell they are wonderful.
September 1 is right around the corner.
My entire news stream is full of pleas not to buy kids flowers on September 1 but rather donate the money to foundations.
Looking at the thousands of aid fund reposts, I realized I forgot about one thing.
On the Donbass, tens and hundreds of kids will also go to school. And they will also need notebooks, erasers, and pens. They’ll need everything, just like our kids.
War or no war. Kids go to school.
I forgot about this, as if it were happening in a parallel universe.
Oksana was one of those girls who back then, in 2014, were in the first ranks of Donbass independence defenders.
Her house remained on the other side. In Ukraine, in Kramatorsk…
The girl fought, participated in the liberation of Chernukhino. Blew up on a mine with her vehicle. The driver was torn to bits, another soldier lost an arm. She suffered a spine injury. She was taken to Rostov for surgery, had plates inserted.
Now she lives in Lugansk. Her house is where charges for “terrorism” and “separatism” are awaiting her. Her mother was held prisoner in a cellar for three days, after she tried to recreate her daughter’s documents and send them to her…
These are not merely kids. They are all foster children who live with families in Lugansk and who are listed with the city aid center. You and I helped the center make a holiday for them. Celebrate with us)))
I love such posts–about kids, smiles, joy, and gifts. It’s especially fun when there is some part of us in that. You. Me.
After taking part in the competition, 40 kids were taken to a fun park with a ropes course, after which they got ice cream and candy.
Ice cream and candy provoked indescribable enthusiasm.
Many of these kids’ parents cannot right now, at a time like this, afford to even buy them ice cream.
Thanks to everyone who sent money for this activity which was part of the Day of Family, Love, and Faith celebrations.
Hurrah, my friends!)))
Zhenya said, or rather wrote, “The kids got a holiday like NO OTHER.”
And you did that)
Thanks for being there))
Katya went to Moscow to take her boy back to LPR.
Kolya has viral meningitis, and was taken to Moscow in December 2016 with the help of Liza Glinka.
He was in the Morozov Hospital until March. Had several surgeries.
He went back and forth between neurology and surgery.
It took them a long time to figure out what kind of infection caused this kind of inflammation in his head, which forced them to carry out more than one surgery in order to drain the liquid that was accumulating. It’s a major miracle that he’s survived all that.
The situation with Kolya Sipunov, whom Liza Glinka helped bring out of the Donbass prior to her death remains complex. The most important thing is that the boy had a surgery in Moscow, was transferred to another hospital, and is now in rehab.
It’s a complex situation, but most importantly, he’s alive and his chances are good.
However, his thieving mother managed to live up to her reputation again, as was expected.
I haven’t been able to visit Kolya myself for a long time, and not because I don’t want to see his mother Katya who robbed me and nearly brought about her son’s death.